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Evaluation of the Mavigator

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Presented on Visual Information Expert Workshop (VIEW?2006), Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 24-25 April, 2006, Paris, France.

Abstract
Mavigator is a graphical querying and browsing tool dedicated to naive users (computer non-professionals). It allows them to retrieve and analyse information from various data sources, in particular, from object-oriented and XML-oriented databases, providing a corresponding wrapper is implemented. Mavigator key concepts related to information retrieval include: intensional navigation, extensional navigation, and persistent baskets for recording temporary and final results. A basic problem related to end-user visual interfaces concerns final presentation and further processing of retrieval results. The Mavigator Active Extensions (AE) module allows the programmer to extend ad hoc the existing core functionalities through a program written in C#. Thus the retrieved data can be presented and analysed in any conceivable visual form. Another novel feature of Mavigator is Virtual Schemas, which make it possible to customize database schema, in particular, changing some names, adding virtual associations or hiding some classes. Virtual Schemas allow creating a customized version of an existing database schema and navigate within the database according to this schema. In this paper we present results of usability tests, which have been conducted within three independent student groups. The results of the tests suggest improvements to the prototype.